Thursday, 20 December 2012

Wee Gamers review ... Battleboards

"You get what you pay for".  Normally that's used to embarrass someone over their foolishness at spending money on something that fails to live up to expectations or basically breaks when you look at it. But in terms of Battleboards the term means quite the opposite.  

Even in communication with Richard at Battleboards you know you're dealing with someone who really cares, not only about what they do and their reputation, but about you and your satisfaction.
He's my kind of creative person, no spoofballing that "nothing's a problem", there is honest communication if you challenge him to something outside his 'comfort zone', but like a true creative soul he'll give it a go. 


The first time I saw their boards was for fantasy football, and it did more to make me want to play a sport game than any PE Teacher ever managed.

Now lets be frank, Battleboards are not cheap.  Quality never is.  When you are thinking of getting a board, look into exactly what it is you want, talk to Battleboards and you will soon see this isn't some off the shelf commodity, though they do a 'standard' range which is easier on the pocket. 

I can't help but feel though that there is a certain excitement and relish when they are asked for something new. The boards I bought where super specific, I think I almost scared Richard with the level of detail I outlined. But I've worked with design types before, give them any degree of ambiguity and they come back with what they think you want, not what you think you asked for. Though often that's because people ask quite vague requests. 

If you're going to spend the money on some custom boards THINK about what you want, see it in your head. I went a little further and forwarded a map showing each board, as well as some photographs and notes. So poor Richard got a photo of Afghanistan with the note "here's the road surface I'm looking for, maybe a little paler, ignore the rest of the picture." Now even looking back at the photos I used at the time and the map, you might still feel there's a difference in what you see and what I got. But that leaves out the emails and updates that accompanied the project. But when the boxes arrived and I laid that table out, what I saw was exactly what I saw in my head, the concept had been made flesh - so to speak. 

These will not be for everyone, there's no penny pinching when it comes to something like a set of these boards. You're paying for something special, and you are paying for someone else to do the hard work. I've seen plenty of tables, really good tables. Maybe YOU can make tables as good, as durable, to a timescale - that's great!  lucky you, I don't think we've meet though ;) 

There's a satisfaction in having something that's not off the peg, and of course, I wanted something special for Wee Gamers.  Not just for show, but for players to be able to use and enjoy. I don't expect them to see what I see when I look at it because there will always be that little bit of personal investment and personal satisfaction in just knowing that a vision was given very accurate form. 

For me I wanted the best and got just that. What surprised even me was the versatility of the boards. They were requested with Ambush Alley Games Force on Force in mind, a game that despite its learning curve I enjoy and remain very fond of, but I sought something set to 20mm scale to employ the Elhiem Minitures most of our forces where made from. 

Yet since it arrived the boards have seen Imperial Outposts for Warhammer 40k, legions of the undead strive across to smite Dwarfs in Mantic Games Kings of War and more recently British troops repel German forces in both Battlefront's Flames of War and Warlord Games Bolt Action. A couple of boards even made the trip to Gaelcon this year for demo use and where ogled over by more than one keen gamer. 

Lets not lower the tone and be so crass as to talk money, go onto the website and look about, if you are serious drop them a line.  The more you want something of your own, the more you will pay, the closer it is to a standard piece, the less. Fair enough "You get what you pay for" and Battleboards will tackle it all, a glance through the lavish gallery and you will see snowscapes, deserts, lush valleys, and as for scales? Doesn't seem to be an issue at all. 

Battleboards are an act of love for your games or models, they are not perhaps for the whimsy. 

Even film style 'sets' will be undertaken now offering you a table that reflects or captures the mood of a film moment you hold dear. And there's no 'buy x many', so a small board to display your pride and joy model, to build your diorama upon or display your master class painted army upon between shows is easily within grasp. 

Many a 'gamer' will in fun refer to minis as 'gamer porn' well if that's true then welcome to Playboy! :) 

Battleboards even offers an exchange programme in case you ever tire of your boards and want to order a new set.

Wee Andy

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